Synchronizing online and offline experiences to leverage brand equity and fuel commercialization

2 min read

Hitachi GST, part of the old Hitachi global empire, wanted to raise its internal and external profile after years of acquisitions and recent merger with IBM. The company also wanted to create a razor focus on the OEM side, and to become more than just an OEM business. Although GST was a major manufacturer of hard drive disks, consumers were confused about what the company was, what hard drives were used for, and how to buy them. Ideon created a new brand positioning and visual identity for Hitachi GST that helped raise GST’s profile and propel a $3.9 billion acquisition by former competitor, Western Digital.

Based on competitive audits and quantitative research, Ideon developed strategic goals for Hitachi GST: Tell the world Hitachi is #1 in tech storage; position GST as a core Hitachi business; build GST’s profile in storage and strengthen Hitachi’s brand equity in storage, and support GST’s long-term strategy to segment the market into ‘Hitachi’ branded products for mainstream PC, Mac, and G-Technology users. Through strategic and creative branding, Ideon accomplished each audacious goal, transforming the tech behemoth from a “What” to a “Why” brand

Ideon and partner agencies raised Hitachi GST’s profile via a new, compelling, dynamic “Why” Hitachi branded website, informed by all of Hitachi’s credibility and master brand architecture and design guidelines. The website was a one-click digital footprint, helping create a tailored user experience and driving sales. Rather than being unknown and un-locatable online, Hitachi GST stood out as the #1 in tech storage online.

All agencies created a fresh, contemporary visual standard that leveraged the term “SOLID”, which is generally reserved for solid state drives. Visually portraying Hitachi GST as “rock solid”, Ideon used images of rocks, water resistance, and “not fragile” boxes. These images were part of an ambitious 6-month plan to launch “SOLID” through visual storytelling and branded images of strength, resilience, and durability. This messaging united GST’s brand portfolio and provided a launch point to jumpstart SMO/online marketing.

A vital component of the “SOLID” brand strategy was creating a tailored user experience to drive revenue and highlight customer facing products. The “Solid 10” competition rolled out online and asked customers to submit personal stories in 10 words, images, or seconds of video.

Hitachi GST became internally and externally energized and unified under the core Masterbrand. GST was anchored within Hitachi’s brand equity and brought to the market across all vertices and audiences with its SOLID message.

Through Ideon’s intrepid and strategic branding, Hitachi GST became a billion-dollar “Why” company which continues to sell hard disk drives, solid-state drives, and external storage products and services. This brand transformation highlights the power of branding – a business is truly only as strong as its brand.

After Ideon’s work, Hitachi GST was sold to Western Digital for $3.9 billion and 25 million shares of WD stock.

Hitachi also asked Ideon to analyze supply chain dynamics for Hitachi Capital to transform a “What” logistics and financing services arm into a “Why data-centric, synchronized supply chain operation partner for Hitachi’s vendors and clients. The branding outcome shows a consolidated data centric operation, resulting in predictable trade flows, minimal disruptions and visibility across the entire supply chain. The transformation for Hitachi Capital continues to generate strength and growth within Hitachi’s global empire.   

Tom Cross, Hitachi Capital’s ex-GM of Trade & Supply Chain Finance is a fan, explaining “Ideon’s fresh, innovative eyes for this branding project allowed Hitachi Capital to reframe the established business challenges to show why our product is truly a transformative one.”